Retail sales fell flat for the second consecutive month after unseasonably cold weather kept consumers away from the high street, according to new research.
The latest Retail Sales Monitor, from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG, found like-for-like sales were down 0.6% compared with the same month last year, while total sales were flat at 0%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Over all, flat total sales mask a very mixed picture; some retailers benefitting from the healthy housing market, while others are evidently more susceptible to the effects of lower consumer confidence and a higher proportion of disposable income going into leisure and entertainment.
“While glimmers of hope are evident, the rapid pace of change in the industry, increasing cost pressures and other businesses burdens remain a cause for concern.”
Meanwhile, online retail sales reported its slowest growth since April 2013. Despite this, non-food sales were still up 6.6% on the same month last year, while the online penetration rate stood at 20.1%.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “With unseasonably cold weather delaying the sales of spring ranges in the month, consumers chose to spruce up well-worn winter warmers with jewellery and accessories from the comfort of the living room rather than hitting the high-street for new outfits.”